The Park Record editorial, September 1-3, 2010 | ParkRecord.com

The Park Record editorial, September 1-3, 2010

Park City School District helps shrink digital divide

The difference between the haves and have-nots at school these days is not measured in fancy Nikes or cool backpacks. That dividing line is drawn between those who have ready access to a computer at home and those who don’t. Fortunately, the Park City School District is helping to blur that line.

This week, every student at Ecker Hill International Middle School received an Apple laptop to use for the entire school year. The students and their parents were coached on how to use and take care of the equipment and the kids will get ongoing support in the coming months, including classes on Internet safety.

The program, including computers for teachers at Ecker Hill and Treasure Mountain cost the school district $1.3 million and came from capital fund monies saved over the last three years no mean feat in these tough economic times. And the district hopes to expand the program next year to Treasure Mountain International School and the following year to the high school.

This week’s distribution of the new laptops is a tribute to the Park City School District’s proactive approach to preparing its students for the future, an emphasis that can be traced back to an early commitment to fostering the use of technology in the classrooms. Over the years various committees of parents and volunteers have helped the district plan for and pay for sophisticated computer labs and software. Now, fortunately, students across the economic spectrum will be able to keep that momentum going as they do their homework and pursue independent studies.

As computer literacy becomes even more essential, those who have more experience with computers will have more choices when it comes to entering the workforce. Park City’s laptop program, therefore, will help level the playing field as local graduates head out into the job market.

The school district should be congratulated for taking this important step and, hopefully, the families whose children receive the laptops will take full advantage of them. Without a doubt, students at Treasure Mountain and the high school are eagerly awaiting their chance to have their own laptops too.

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Yes, the laptops were paid for by local taxpayers but, if the students and the schools use them to help close the gap between the haves and have-nots in our community, it will be money well spent.